From 1940s to today, Vernon hospital has grown with city

VJH has come a long way

Vernon's hospital has come a long way since it opened.

This photo from the Greater Vernon Museum & Archives and shared on the Vintage Vernon BC Facebook page shows a model used to promote construction of the then-proposed Vernon Jubilee Hospital in the 1940s.

"Since so many of us are on some sort of lockdown, why not take this as an opportunity to go through old photo albums, reminisce, and then share with us?" the admins of the page posted. 

The scale model depicts the proposed 100-bed facility, and urges residents to get behind it.

The old wing of the hospital is still in use to this day, and the photo prompted numerous responses from people born there, or who had children there.

"Not much has changed ... I work in that ol' building! It has stood the test of time, that's for sure," said Staci Warwick.

According to the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation, in 1895, after a diphtheria epidemic struck the city, a committee canvassed the district for funds for Vernon's original cottage hospital.

It was named Vernon Jubilee in honour of Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee.

Clara Cameron, wife of Vernon’s first mayor, W.F. Cameron, fundraised tirelessly for the project, and it opened its doors in late 1897. It offered sixteen beds and the rates were set at $1.50 per day for a public ward and $2 per day for a private room. There was no indoor plumbing. 

The larger facility opened in 1947, and a second wing was added in the early 1980s.

Today, VJH has 162 beds, after the opening of the Polson Tower in 2011, at a cost of $180 million. The top two floors of the tower were opened in 2016. That project cost $29.6 million and added or relocated 60 beds.

Now, with the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe, more attention than ever is focused on our hospitals.

In the second photo, you can see all three wings of Vernon Jubilee, and in the last, a closer shot of the modern, seven-storey Polson Tower.


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